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Posts Tagged ‘terrafugia’

And For My Next Trick: Tesla’s Musk Suggests New Roadster May Be Able to Fly

Pushing the envelope or seeking a diversion amidst financial struggles.

by on Nov.20, 2017

Tesla CEO unveiled the new Roadster last week.

What happens when the head of your car company also runs a rocket business? If that person happens to be CEO Elon Musk he hints that the new, $200,000 Roadster Tesla unveiled last week also may be able “to fly for short hops” if a buyer opts for a “special upgrade.”

Musk isn’t the only one who envisions flying cars. A number of firms are working on that concept, including European aerospace giant Airbus. But the Sunday tweet by the Tesla CEO adds another twist to the tale of a company that not only is building cars but batteries, stationary power systems and solar cells. Musk is also the boss at SpaceX, the rocket company that has been supplying the International Space Station and soon plans to start launching humans into space under contract for NASA.

Behind the News!

Whether the latest tweet is serious is a question generating plenty of buzz across the Internet. While Musk’s many fans seem to believe he’s capable of just about anything, skeptics are asking whether the hint of a flying Tesla Roadster might be meant to divert attention away from the carmaker’s struggles – which include a disastrous third-quarter loss and ongoing problems getting the new Model 3 into volume production.

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Blade Runner 2020? Uber Wants to Launch Flying Cars Over L.A.

Pilot for new service would debut by end of decade.

by on Nov.08, 2017

Uber wants to begin testing its flying cars for its Uber Elevate in Los Angeles in 2020.

When it comes to dealing with the city’s crowded streets, Los Angelenos have to hope that science fiction will soon become an everyday reality.

The recent release of the movie “Blade Runner 2049″ anticipates a day when the skies over L.A. are filled with flying cars. But if Uber has its way, that could happen a lot sooner. The nation’s ride-sharing giant wants to begin test flights of a prototype flying car in Los Angeles in 2020 and hopes to put it into commercial service by 2028.

News You Can Trust!

“Technology will allow L.A. residents to literally fly over the city’s historically bad traffic, giving them time back to use in far more productive ways,” Uber Chief Technology Officer Jeff Holden said during a tech conference in Lisbon today. “At scale, we expect UberAir will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city.” (more…)

The Flying DeLorean is Back — For the First Time

Autonomous flying car is set to debut in late 2018.

by on Aug.15, 2017

The DeLorean DR-7 is the latest entry into the flying car segment, or it will be when it arrives in late 2018.

Reminisce about the ’80s and it won’t take long for memories to move to flying DeLoreans, 1.21 jigawatts and hitting 88 mph.

Fast forward a few decades and there is still talk of flying DeLoreans. Only now, they don’t travel through time, but they do fly autonomously. At least, that the goal of DeLorean Aerospace, which is just the latest company to enter the flying car market.

Product News!

The company, which was founded in 2012, is run by Paul DeLorean, nephew of the iconic car’s namesake and well-known auto executive John DeLorean. And it’s working what it calls “vertical takeoff and landing personal transports.” (more…)

Toyota Only the Latest to Dream of Launching a Flying Car

Patent application shows unique approach to fold-away wings.

by on Sep.11, 2015

A patent application showing Toyota's "aerocar" concept with its foldaway wings.

Wouldn’t it be great to fly home after a long day’s work – quite literally taking to the air rather than getting stuck in a traffic jam? That’s a fantasy nearly as old as the auto industry itself, and now, it seems, Japanese giant Toyota Motor Co. may be working up plans to develop a flying automobile, at least according to a recent patent filing.

How serious Toyota is about building a flying car the company isn’t saying, but it wouldn’t be nearly the first to give the idea a try. Industry pioneer Henry Ford was an early proponent, abandoning the idea of a flying version of his Model T only after the fatal crash of a friend and chief co-pilot. Meanwhile, a group of MIT grads has already begun testing their own flying car concept even as a Defense Department research group explores the idea of sending soldiers into battle on a flying motorcycle.

The Last Word!

Forget Blade Runner, or the Jetsons, for that matter. Few expect to see a world in which commuters routinely take to the air anytime soon. But proponents believe that at least some well-heeled motorists could leapfrog traffic in the not-too-distant future.

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If Cars Could Fly or Planes Could Drive?

Another flying car project has left the ground, sort of.

by on Mar.23, 2009

The dream of a flying car persists against all odds.

The dream of a flying car persists against all odds.

After six months of testing, a flying car has taken to the air over the runway at Plattsburgh International Airport in New York.  The “Transition” light sport aircraft has design goals of 450 miles of cruising flight at speeds up to 115 mph once development, testing and FAA certification are complete — processes that could take years if they are ever accomplished at all.

The unique, proof of concept contraption, four years in the making, has front-wheel drive for road use with a claimed top speed of 60 mph and unspecified “automotive safety” features. A pusher propeller is used for flight. A Federal Aviation Administration Sport Pilot license will be needed to fly it, and even then only in good weather conditions.

Both air and road modes are powered by unleaded gasoline from a regular service station, and the wings fold electronically in just 30 seconds, a feature that is presumably over-ridden when the four wheels are off the ground.

“This breakthrough changes the world of personal mobility. Travel now becomes a hassle-free integrated land-air experience. It’s what aviation enthusiasts have been striving for since 1918,” says Carl Dietrich, CEO of Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), a start-up company founded in 2006 by five graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Terra fugia is Latin for escape from land.)

It’s not clear to me what the significance of the 1918 date is. The Wright bothers of course first flew on December 17, 1903 after years of research with kites and gliders that they designed, built, tested and flew.

The Transition test is similar though to the first Wright flight since it was short, very short, less than 30 seconds in duration. The two-seat plane stayed about a wing’s length above the runway for what looked to be 3,000 feet, then quickly landed again. This means that lift was increased from what’s known as “ground effect,” whereby drag is reduced and speed is increased since proximity to the ground reduces wingtip vortices and their consequences.

Whether the Transition has enough power to climb out of ground effect and fly on its own is another matter entirely. This didn’t stop TV news readers from gushing about the project with their usual insight and perspective. The plane —  whether it ultimately works or not — will no doubt be a star on the air show circuit since it taps into primeval needs for mobility and whimsy. (more…)